Sunday 24 June 2018

Stranger Things creators sued for plagiarism amid claims they 'stole' the show concept

Stranger Things (Netflix)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Eleven Stranger Things
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

The creators of Stranger Things have been sued for plagiarism as an American filmmaker alleges they stole the plot of the show.

Matt and Ross Duffer brought the sci-fi hit to the small screen in 2016 via Netflix, earning a number of Emmy awards and Golden Globe nominations and it's considered one of the most successful tv shows of the last decade.

Filmmaker Charlie Kessler is suing for breach of implied contract, seeking damages and is requesting a jury trial. In 2012, he released a short film called Montauk, which focuses on a secret government conspiracy in New York where a child goes mysteriously missing.

He claims he pitched the concept to the Duffer brothers at the Tribeca Film Festival, saying he provided "script, ideas, story, and film" to the pair.

In 2015, Netflix announced they had commissioned a new series entitled Montauk, which was due to air in 2016, set in the 1980s in the beach town. By its 2016 release, the show's name had changed and it was set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana.

The show was billed as featuring "top secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one very strange little girl." Millie Bobby Brown's character Eleven, was not featured in Montauk and is an exclusive character of Stranger Things.

Eleven Stranger Things
Eleven Stranger Things

Both projects came after a book, The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time, was published in 1992 about secret government experiments in the nearby Camp Hero area.

According to Deadline, Kessler's suit reads: "After the massive success of Stranger Things that is based on Plaintiff’s concepts that Plaintiffs discussed with Defendants, Defendants have made huge sums of money by producing the series based on Plaintiff’s concepts without compensating or crediting Plaintiff for his Concepts."

Alex Kohner, attorney for Matt and Ross Duffer, told Independent.ie: "Mr. Kessler’s claim is completely meritless. He had no connection to the creation or development of ‘Stranger Things.’ The Duffer Brothers have neither seen Mr. Kessler’s short film nor discussed any project with him.

"This is just an attempt to profit from other people’s creativity and hard work.”

Netflix has not been named in the suit.  A spokesperson for Netflix told Independent.ie they don't comment on litigation.

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